* Tourists revise vacations as monuments, parks close
* Weddings, daycare, research all disrupted in shutdown
By John Whitesides and Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON, Oct 2 A string of cancellations and
delays caused by the federal government shutdown rippled across
the United States on Wednesday, ruining dream vacations,
upending carefully laid wedding plans and complicating the lives
of millions of people.
From blood drives to daycare programs, musical performances
to research projects, the disruptions caused by the political
stalemate in Washington sparked growing frustrations and left
people scrambling to make alternative plans.
Scores of weddings planned at national parks and monuments
around the country were moved or postponed, and vacationers
hustled to change their itineraries after finding iconic sites
from the Statue of Liberty to the Lincoln Memorial closed.
"We're really disappointed. We spent a lot of days waiting
for tickets so we just want to go inside the statue," said
Gaelle Masse, a tourist from Paris who was startled to discover
the Statue of Liberty was closed.
Thousands of tourists with prepaid tickets to visit Alcatraz
Island, the famed prison site in San Francisco Bay, were unable
to tour the former penitentiary.
In Boston, Italian tourist Federico Paliero and his
girlfriend Claudia Costato peered through a closed metal gate to
catch a glimpse of the USS Constitution, a wooden, three-masted
U.S. Navy ship from the 18th century docked in Boston Harbor
that serves as one of the city's major attractions.
Normally buzzing with tourists, the site was nearly
abandoned on Wednesday, except for a handful of people looking
lost and dismayed as they gawked at a sign explaining the
"Italy is not the only state with money problems," Paliero
said, rubbing his thumb and forefingers together.
At Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, park
staff said nearly 30 weddings scheduled for the next two weeks
are threatened by the shutdown, which also sent hundreds of
'WORRIED ABOUT RAIN'
Two dozen weddings planned at monuments on the Washington
mall in October also were threatened, a park service spokeswoman
"I wasn't worried about the government shutting down. I was
worried about rain," said bride-to-be MaiLien Le, who was
planning to walk down the aisle at the Jefferson Memorial on
Having to possibly change venues just days before her
wedding is "really upsetting," she said on NBC's "Today" show.
In northern Virginia, officials canceled blood drives that
would have provided transfusions for up to 900 area patients.
The Library of Congress in Washington closed its doors,
disrupting research projects and canceling a musical performance
by Randy Newman.
About one-fifth of the classes at the Naval Academy in
Annapolis, Maryland, were scrapped, and science laboratories at
the school were shut down as furloughs for civilian Defense
Department employees took hold.
The Smithsonian, which shuttered all of its museums and the
National Zoo, also had to close its early childhood center even
though many parents had already paid between $300 and $400 in
tuition for the week, according to local radio station WTOP.
"When you have to sit down and explain to a 5-year-old why
he can't go to school, it's a difficult conversation," Virginia
resident Brian Katz, whose two children attend the Smithsonian
Early Enrichment Center housed in the Natural History Museum,
told a local Fox television station.
Juleon Rabbani, 28, got a call from the National Park
Service informing him that his scientific research in national
parks would be shut down for now, compounding funding issues he
was already facing.
"I wanted to graduate in the fall of 2014, but with my
funding being held up and since my research sites are national
parks, it will be well into 2015 before I am done," he said.
"The funding I need won't come through, and who knows how long
this shutdown will be."
Some Washington businesses faced growing uncertainty as the
shutdown continued, keeping government events away from hotels
and federal workers out of their usual restaurants.
David Hill, general manager for two area hotels, said two
dozen events at the hotels have been canceled in the coming
weeks, including one large government group that triggered a
"What I've told my team is: for us, it's business as usual
... but everything in the future is in limbo," said Hill, who
manages the Phoenix Park Hotel just blocks from the U.S. Capitol
and the Four Points by Sheraton near the White House.
Grain traders in Chicago were preparing to cope without
weekly U.S. Department of Agriculture data on export sales
typically released on Thursdays. The data, covering sales the
previous week, can roil prices for crops like corn and wheat if
demand is unexpectedly strong or weak.
"For now, we'll go with our best guesses," said Sterling
Smith, futures specialist for Citigroup.
Traders and analysts were frustrated that USDA websites went
dark as a result of the federal shutdown. They mine the sites
for data on crop supplies and demand to project price trends.
Terry Reilly, analyst for Futures International, said he
could not complete presentations on the grain markets for
clients because USDA data was unavailable.
"It makes no sense to me that they would shut down their
websites," he said.